tv [untitled] July 30, 2012 4:30pm-5:00pm PDT
can change what the conversation is about. >> first of all the neighborhood is experiencing great, a dramatic change, and we have identified a couple of significant historic districts, and conversely there is the pressure for growth. thirdly, i think because the character is very different from any other part of the city, except for the residential enclaves, the character is quite diverse in terms of architecture. the size of buildings and the shape of buildings, and the question that is really presented assumes that this area will accommodate growth, how will this work in the neighborhood as it deals with and maintains the quality as part of san francisco and adding
to the neighborhood character? intractable maybe the incorrect word but this is a somewhat unique problem and that this is not typical, how you add to the historic fabric of a neighborhood with consistent quality, but how you can add to this with a fairly substantial way, more than you would in a normal neighborhood where i, in addition to this it would not be as substantial as it may be here, as you maintain the character? frankly, from a personal standpoint, we want to figure out if you can have the contemporary architecture in a way that works in neighborhoods like this, with a fairly substantial fabric that is quite diverse. >> this is talking about form, which is not something we talked about in the conversation. >> if i could interpret some of
her comments, part of what she says is that this may not be about the character of the individual buildings, but where they are with corners and creating gateways. we should be looking differently in the locations in a different way. >> i took this as an opportunity to read this book, and her main argument in favor of historic buildings is economic. those are the places, such as wall street, without the older buildings you don't have lunch places. you have the residential enclaves, which is a starting place with a mixed use district, with having the kind of variety that jacobs talks about. it seems to me, having been in
the city -- it seems they go through a lot of changes. they have a lot of artists and theater people because the rent was low, and without parts of the city with low rent, you don't have the entrepreneurial business. you don't have people -- the kinds of people that you have in the city. you see that in dog patch now, with all of the small differences. starting a business -- this is kind of like -- it seems to me that cities have to have bad neighborhoods. >> i think this is a good point. what it reminds me of, part of the issue for me has been to
think about this situation and the most extreme example would be to say that we will not teardown a single building. nothing will be demolished. but we have. knowledge that we substantially add to the density of the neighborhood. you do that by maintaining the fabric and assuming you can keep the majority of the fabric. >> around the city, there is what is expensive and what is an expensive. the whole thing is to set up the situation for slow change and not a drastic change. this is what creates the variety, because let's face it. we don't build neighborhoods. you can build a social -- there are networks of relationships.
people develop that over time, by living there. so these things have to happen over decades. it is curious to me that so much has happened on valencia's street and 16, that for decades, people have wanted to happen on market street. after all the programs and the attempts at revitalizing market street, this said -- this happened -- because the rent is low. there may be other qualities with smaller block sizes. it seems to me that south of market, there are a lot of empty lots that can create the density you are talking about. we have to be careful, especially with what she was talking about and the way that people want to build.
we're basically, people are on eighth street, where people basically -- this is a large development with the internal street, the kind of thing that you see in mission bay. the kind of problem that she is pointing to is turning what was public space into private space. it really kills the opportunity for variety, and different economic class is an uses. -- classes and uses. i would rather see taller buildings that cover less of the plot so that you can walk by them. what she is suggesting on the streets that go from the north to the south, with the taller buildings. i think if we can set something
up that is really about gradual change instead of thinking about rebuilding the market -- >> that raises a very interesting question about the economy, and there's an interesting question about the pace of change. and also, this is a challenge, given the economic conditions we work in. this is worth a discussion. >> historic buildings are not just important for the architecture, there are important because they are affordable. >> thank you. commissioner wolfern: yankee for the presentation. this was to the point in terms of looking at the network and the whole fabric rather than just the individual buildings.
one thing that i was struck with, when we looked at the rezoning of this area, recently, his understanding the potential of this district, and what are the things said give this great potential and what is not being realized? i really -- i was in as story with a similar block, subdivided by the alleyways. 20 years ago, if you were there, this is a little bit different. the alleyways were completely abandoned. this was a very an interesting place and this has been completely transformed as the alleyways have tremendous life now. one thing that were terry effectively is that they are connected, so that you can continue in the same alleyway from block to block, and you
have this seamless feeling. this is very vibrant and welcoming, and i think south of market has this, it is just unrealized, and one thing you -- we may want to look further at is how to connect them together more so there is -- they are more seamlessly integrated. right now, if you were to walk down the alley way, you are interrupted by the streets. these are confined to these big blocks, and with the one-way traffic, which is a disaster, i think all the streets should be two ways, suddenly, you don't want to continue because you cannot get across into the next valley. one thing that would be good to look at is how to create a feeling of integrating the block together so that they're not
completely individual and isolated units. the may be easier ways to get across the large streets. in some locations you can cross the blocks, but you have to go all the way back to the corner and would not be able to continue. i think the alleys, because of the scale and the industrial character of the existing buildings have this tremendous potential that is not realized, and it could make south of market a pedestrian-friendly area. the large, busy streets are not friendly to walk upon. this would show ways to promote the things that are there, inherently, that have potential. i think they started to modify those and i would encourage you to continue looking at that. >> thank you.
commissioner borden? >> i thought this was very thought provoking and i liked that word, fragmenting. it discuss an issue that we face on a regular basis, looking at the singular buildings or architectural statements, or a business with a particular focus. this is something that we often try to work on when we deal with individual projects but we don't have the full context or the ability to look at the context. this is important in soma and there is the opportunity to ruin what is the fabric there. or a chance for enhancement. the projects we have seen where we tried to break up the blocks, adding open space and we talked
about folsom st. -- and i like the idea of trees going down the middle of fulton, which is such a wide street. but there is a real need to look at how we create our design, in these neighborhoods. most of us agree that mission bay is not a shining example of a beautiful neighborhood had people want to move to. what makes this so special when we talk about older buildings being more affordable, they assume this much because of the fact that the neighborhoods with the thriving commercial corridors, that have the kind of businesses and the social engagement that you want are the older and more established neighborhoods. hayes valley -- this is a place to be, or the mission, because they have the fabric of the
smaller streets. there is the small kind of building with a critical mass of residents close by, who want to have things that are walkable. this is the challenge of market street, there is not a lot of real residence because we did not focus on that, so there are people on a daily basis getting their coffee or looking for a dry cleaner, creating that. you don't really get that until you have enough people buy enough areas, so how do you do that without completely changing the texture or the affordability, or the complexion of the neighborhood. this is something we don't have the easy answers to. in suburban communities, you have the town houses so you help -- hope that you get the socio-
economic diversity. but you hope that you can kind of create that and we are in a different position because we do not control what people choose to build. this makes it a little bit more challenging in terms of figuring out the kinds of housing or the projects people bring to us but we have an opportunity in terms of design and how we create these spaces. we ask for ground-floor retail, for the ground floor. what makes the space more cozy or attractive. in older buildings you see the ground first space, resonating with the space that you want to enter. you enter these kinds of spaces in the context of the building sometimes and it does not have the same kind of vernacular, where this is pulling on you to
walk into. we have a lot of brand new buildings with empty ground floors. and you wonder what it would take in the design of that, or in the building with the other concepts of the neighborhood that would make the space more attractive and more usable. i think the issue on recapturing the alleys is something that we have seen in areas of the city and this is an opportunity south of the market because there are some lovely alice, figuring out how to make those joint, open spaces as well, that people may have to go through for other purposes. i believe there is a great opportunity around trees and greening. i think that people love from the streets. you walk down delores' street
and this is so beautiful. there are so many trees and has this feeling that is very common. you go down folsom street and you want to get off as quick as possible. i think that, looking at the south of market, this is so critical for us to figure out how to make those spaces accommodate new places, but also, create the density that we need, taking into consideration a large residential projects. many of the spaces will continue to be other types of spaces and it brings in the concept of work and the types of buildings with people talking about, if you are an entrepreneur, you think of this space to work with. a lot of people want to be -- that is one thing san francisco has to offer -- many buildings
that you cannot build today, that just don't have the same feeling -- anything, and you can replicate those things. i think this is a great conversation and i would love to overlay this with the western soma plan, as we look at the different design guidelines, how this resonates with how we are looking at the historic districts within that area, and that the zoning, as we think about this sort of thing in terms of the context of the corners. so, thank you. >> thank you. commissioner? >> i want to say, thank you very much. i want to say thank you very much for one very important thing, the disintegration of the
difference between what is historic and what is necessarily contemporary. the fact of the matter is that these are not mutually exclusive, and that the cities of all the overtime and that this is the fabric with which we work that, and we create the place where we have the individual structures and buildings that don't have much meaning in terms of the larger continuity of understanding the place, and understanding the quality and the character of a city. which does in fact represent a large spectrum of this. thank you for using the building where i live as an example. people -- if people have a hard
time understanding someone who may be interested in historic resources living in a contemporary building and wondering why the doilies are not on the back of the chairs, the notion around working within this area -- this is something i find very fascinating from someone who walks, in that area and lives in that area. the notion that you brought up about the orientation of the streets being markers and identifiers for the way we may look at how we attribute character to those buildings to help reinforce that is very important. the named streets are actually larger, they become the streets that may become the more dense locations, locations for greater density and height.
streets with numbers may contain, especially the sixth street corridor, sixth street, for instance, is a good case where there is a variety of building types on narrow lots, from market street, southbound, that represent a more residential character, as opposed to it a character that is much more commercial on the east or west street. i thank you for pointing this out. the notion about density and creating greater density, i would agree with martinez that -- i would rather see vertical height, then building spread across the landscape, and seeing
buildings in properties consumed in to the mega blocks. i think that this gives the opportunity, i think, at the ground level, with the orientation of pedestrian experiences, we don't and we haven't, seen many of these areas mature. valencia's street was an example because it has taken a long time for parts of the mission to get high. if you look at mission street, this was a movie theater have been for a long time. this fell into decline and it took a lie for that street to come back. it will eventually rise, but this is holding on to those things that make the character of that place worth coming back to.
i am afraid that looking at this massive development block, to create another way to get enough financial wherewithal, to see the projects successful so that this helps them decline in the long term. and then, the connection between that alleys and streets, i think that this in itself, helps for us to define a way in which the residents and the commercial users can coexist. we have set up this -- i think in many ways, we have set up a target that these are commercial locations rather than residential locations, and i feel that we have to come closer to a model where they can
coexist. so, thank you very much. commissioner moore: i want to thank you for a thoughtful way of stepping back. what we do here, and how we are asked to operate, is a great challenge to examine the conceptual issues -- and as an invitation to look a tthe central corridor planning, adding the overlay by which we test the assumptions that are done rapidly, for large real estate projects, for those presented today, to step back
to say how we can view the dna of the high quality analysis and translate that to how we adapt the focus on the third street corridor, to rise to the which speaks to urban qualities which are the d.n.a. city which i have not seen being expressed as much. i'm seeing there's a little bit of a challenge. i only saw a very small area carved out where it said this is where we're going to preserve small lots. we should be approaching every project that the d.n.a. is small grain lots and picking up on what commissioner chase just said, i think it's understanding of how to interweave the mixed use nature
of what is so strong about san francisco into any of those future assumptions. that doesn't mean that we cannot build larger buildings. but the mindless aggregation of lots, oversized property assemblies s. what starts to dull our ability to continue to really celebrate what's strong about the city. there's enough said about the alleys and enough said about the small dead end streets into which come the wonderful t intersections where you see the entire block as space, as living space, and all of those ideas can give us impetus to do the central corridor very, very differently than only driven by large scale real estate aspirations. and i see sometimes because in the way we -- the con isn'tual stepping back around some of the principles which were presented today are not
happening. we create first the big ideas and then we want to speak about alleys and pedestrian ways. i want to see that happen the other way around. i want to see a strong conceptual framework first. and then i would like to selectively fill in how we approach it. and that for me personally comes with a very, very timely analysis of what is historic architecture which we can recognize as historic architecture and what other noteworthy place-making buildings which we need to maintain and make part of the new setting. because i see more and more an attempt to -- and i'm not just talking about the rigor of historic preservation. but i'm really speaking about understanding the three dimensional d.n.a. of the city. which is also small scale. which is about ex-quissettely wonderful buildings of one of a kind and maintain that in whatever form we can and have it harmonize with large and
newer buildings. and then i think we have a very strong journey into the future. >> thank you. commissioner wolfram. commissioner wolfram: i just wanted to layer on one other thing which there's a certain irony i guess in saying that we need to retool soma because it's actually one of the most financially successful mabeds in the whole city. with right now the highest -- commercial rents of anywhere. so i think it would be interesting to add on to this analysis or to bring into this discussion a discussion with some of the people involved in the companies that are so successful there. and to understand what attracts them so much this area. is it the building stock, the large floor plates, the industrial character of the buildings? is it easy access to 2 a.d., it looks raw and funky, is there something that we as planners and architects aren't even thinking about that they find so compelling? so i think they were there maybe originally because it was
cheap. but it's no longer cheap. and they're still coming. so i think that would be another perspective to layer on to this. >> thank you. i really -- if i may, i really agree. i think there's an incredible richness and variety in soma already. and so maybe part of what the presentation is bringing forward is that maybe on the corners, there's an opportunity to add something to it. but not that it's taking away from what's already there. i love the variety of cultures in some jafment there's industrial. there's different classes. different races. there's an artist mentality if will you and the new twitters and the tech industry. so i just think there's a real -- it's a real eclectic neighborhood. and that's different than other neighborhoods in this city. so that, you know, maybe what can be brought to this and the central corridor of planning is some addition or layering on top of that. instead of a feeling that it's like a redoing of it. commissioner hasz. commissioner hasz: thank you. actually, for 10 years, i had
my offices at second and brannan and know the area very well and have several restaurants down there. and all the streets with them being so busy the thing that was so special about second and brannan is we had south park. you have an internal space to go escape the rapid pace of all those major blocks. you also have the waterfront. you can walk right down and cruise along the waterfront. it's fantastic. to me, the internal escape points create the walking district. because you have people walking there. i would walk to south park all the time. just have a coffee and mellow out. and like the alleyway that blocks them, fourth and fifth, right next to the tennis club. that would be another perfect spot to maybe create another south park which will be by the central corridor station. in speaking toward my fellow commissioner martinez's comments on doing this south of market and not as a big bang but as -- in pieces i would love to create another south park feel. capture an entrance there wi